's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. down to the wire. japanese officials are looking for any help available to get journalist kenji goto freed as the clock on a 24-hour deadline set by his captors winds down. hundreds of people in jordan have taken to the streets calling on the government to secure the release of a pilot captured by islamic state.
and people living near some rivers in western japan fear an animal is robbing the water of shellfish. japanese officials are working against a looming deadline trying to bring freelance journalist kenji goto back home. militants claiming to be with islamic state have posted a new video online. it says they will kill goto and jordanian air force pilot moaz kasasbeh if an imprisoned female jihadist is not released in the next 24 hours. the video includes an image of goto holding a photo of kasasbeh, the voice of a man claiming to be japanese journalist relays the demands. he says the jordanian government has been obstructing his freedom by failing to hand over sagida al rishawi. she is currently on death row for her role in a 2005 terrorist
attack. she called on the japanese government to put pressure on jordan. he said that he had only 24 hours left to live and kasasbeh had even less time. jordanian leaders are considering a swap of rishawi for the pilot. it's not clear when the deadline expires. japanese officials say they are acting on an assumption that it is around 11:00 p.m. japan time on wednesday. moaz kasasbeh was captured by the militants last month after his jet went down during an air strike. sources say government officials in amman have been in contact with the militants, and they say the country is working closely with japan on the issue. japan's state minister for foreign affairs says his team is still looking for any signs of progress in the hostage crisis. yas hid today nakayama is in jordan's capital amman. he's leading the task force there. >> translator: i talked with our foreign minister on the phone
from 7:53 to 8:08 local time. but so far the situation hasn't changed. i was instructed by the minister to gather and analyze the latest information and that's what we've done. at this moment i don't have any comments on the release of mr. kenji goto. >> japan's chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga spoke to reporters in tokyo. he said there's no new information on the hostage crisis but tokyo is in communication with officials in jordan to try to resolve the situation. >> translator: we are in an extremely difficult situation. we have asked the government of jordan for its support toward the release of kenji goto. after a new image, and audio information were posted on the internet yesterday, we have
reconfirmed that we won't change our policy on the crisis. under prime minister shinzo abe's orders foreign minister fumio kishida has given instructions to our local response center in amman. >> suga says the government still hasn't received any information on developments on the release of kenji goto from their jordanian counterparts. and he also says there's been no contact from islamic state militants either. goto's mother has submitted a petition to the prime minister's office pleading the government to rescue her son. >> translator: please save kenji's life. i want the japanese government to make its utmost efforts to negotiate with the jordanian government up until the last minute.
>> people rallied in jordan demanding the government secure the release of moaz kasasbeh. hundreds of gathered in the capital amman, and the pilot's hometown. they called on the government to act swiftly. kasasbeh's father also pleaded for his son's release. >> translator: everyone must understand from the head of the regime to the general public that my son's safety means stability in jordan and his death means chaos in jordan. jordan's stability depends totally on his safety. that's what i would like to say to the head of the regime and to everybody else. >> observers say jordan faces a dilemma over the hostage crisis. many in the country oppose the release of death row inmate al rishawi saying it would lead to new terror attacks. they say the government should not yield to demands of terrorists.
joining us in the studio is akiko yoshioka a senior researcher at the institute of energy economics. she specializes in middle eastern affairs and she's been following the activities of islamic state. thanks for coming in today. >> thank you. >> what were the captors hoping to achieve by releasing the third video at this particular time? >> likely to setting a deadline to show they have no intention of prolonging negotiations. i think they're probably trying to show that they have the upper hand here. that they are in control of how the talks with japan and jordan play out. >> why did they give only a 24-hour deadline? >> i think they may be in a fairly desperate situation. they're fighting this battle all over the region and they seem to be losing ground. if their aim in forcing these videos is to get global attention and promote their cause, this has made some impact. they might be trying to bring the issue to a head in some ways.
>> the third video demands, once again, the release of sagida al rishawi, why is she so important to them? >> i don't think she's so important for islamic state. but winning the freedom of someone like rishawi, who took part in a suicide bombing attack would have a symbolic meaning. i think that's why islamic state is demanding her release in exchange for hostages. >> why do you think the video referred to the captured jordanian pilot. >> it seems they're trying to ratchet up the pressure on jordan. after all, it's jordanian government to make a decision on rishawi. >> how should japanese and jordanian governments respond to this situation? >> right now, islamic state claims that the only way to secure the release of the hostage s is bring freeing rishawi. but if jordan hands her over.
that would anger the families of the victims of the 2005 bombing attack in amman. so the japanese government has to cooperate with jordan on this. one way is by providing financial aid to jordan. >> thank you very much akiko, senior researcher at the institute of economics japan. we now turn to biz news with ron madison. >> thank you gene. getting started at this hour with corporate news japan's third largest airline has run into some turbulence. skymark is expected to file for bankruptcy. officials of the airline say it plans to continue flying while seeking rehabilitation under court supervision. skymark executives are set to decide on the protection application at a board meeting later on wednesday. the airline launched in 1998 and has faced fierce competition recently from low-cost carriers as the weaker yen pushed up fuel costs. executives forecast a record net loss for this fiscal year through march of $116 million.
skymark has been selling off aircraft related equipment and seeking help from domestic and foreign investors to raise capital. but sources say negotiations have stalled. if the carrier decides to file for bankruptcy, it will be the first such case since japan airlines bankruptcy back in 2010. well the people at japan's automakers have seen a turnaround in exports. they say overseas shipments last month picked up for the first time in more than a year. and they point to strong sales in the u.s. as driving the upturn. eight major japanese carmakers say together they exported just over 350,000 units in december. that's up 0.8% from the same month the year before. and they say within japan, production for 2014 was up 1.2% from the previous year. the total came to more than 9.2 million units. customers rushed into show rooms to buy before the consumption tax hike last april pushed up the figures. executives are hoping the upward trend for the auto exports will
continue on the back of the weaker yen. officials at japan's finance ministry say the nation's economy remains on a recovery track. they've maintained the assessment for the fourth straight quarter but they warned that weakness does remain in some sectors. the heads of the ministry's 11 regional bureaus reported on local trends. the officials noted some weakness in consumption, such as sluggish demand for winter clothing. but they say sales of expensive items are rising at department stores in major cities amid an increase in foreign tourism. the officials see signs of recovery in manufacturing mainly in smartphone related parts. they see more job offers in restaurants and other service industries, as well as the medical and welfare fields. looking ahead officials expect the recovery trend to continue. but they warn of uncertainties with the global economic situation, especially that in europe. all right. getting a check of the markets now, global investors are staying on hold before the u.s. federal reserve wraps up its two-day policy meeting on
wednesday. in europe developments in greece appear to be defining market sentiment following the election victory of the anti-bailout party. major european bourses opened higher but let's see where they're trading now. all of them are in negative territory. declines in london of a quarter percent. frankfurt down just over 0.1%. paris is declining nearly half a percent. now greek stocks are extending losses on reports the new government will freeze plans to privatize major utilities. analysts say this is putting pressure on other markets in the region. in asia markets ended mixed. tokyo, seoul and sydney all extending gains. shanghai underperforming the pack shedding 1.4% on profit taking. mumbai was pretty much flat after its benchmark hit a record high on tuesday. moving on to currencies now, the dollar is locked in a narrow range against the yen. it is currently trading at let's see dollar/yen is at 117.69. traders are holding back from
major bets. they're focusing on whether the fed will announce a significant change in its policy outlook in light of plunging oil prices. the euro is trading at the 1.13 dollar level. edging up from 11-year lows earlier this week. meanwhile euro/yen is at 133.75. well sony executives plan to cut another 1,000 jobs from their mobile division. the company is struggling to maintain a foothold in the smartphone business. the latest cuts are mainly in asia and europe. they follow a cut of 1,000 jobs last year in the mobile unit. this was mainly in china. sony's expected to report an operating loss of more than $1.7 billion in its mobile business in the fiscal year through march. sales have been pretty sluggish in emerging markets. the electronics giant is considering other ways to streamline the business. it could integrate sales bases in europe and elsewhere. and reduce the number of smartphone models. sony is aiming to return the
mobile division to profitability in fiscal 2016. well executives at apple have surprised analysts and really thrilled investors with their latest earnings report. they say both profit and revenue have hit record highs. the results were fuelled by good sales of the iphone 6 smartphone. the executives say in the october to december quarter the firm's net profit rose to $18 billion. that's an increase of almost 38% from a year earlier. and revenue rose to nearly $75 billion, up 29.5%. apple sold roughly 75 million iphones during the quarter. that's nearly 1.5 times the figure from a year earlier. apple's ceo tim cook said in an earnings conference call that the firm will release its wearable computer apple watch, sometime in april. well japanese firms are promoting technologies for disoos ter preparedness at a conference in california. and like japan, the u.s. state does suffer from major earthquakes. local government officials and
politicians gathered in los angeles with business people from around the world. representatives of 11 japanese electronics and chemical makers introduced state-of-the-art technologies that are friendly to the environment. a local japanese company showed water piping with the flexibility to withstand an earthquake. japan's shinkansen bullet train technology was also on show. it enables bullet trains to stop safely in an earthquake. okay. that is going to do it for biz tonight. let's get a check of the markets.
senior government officials from japan, the u.s. and south korea have agreed they need more help dealing with yong pang's nuclear program. they'll ask their counterparts from russia and china to assist them in taking concrete action towards denuclearization. their decision came on wednesday after a meeting in tokyo. it's the first time the three nations have discussed the issue face-to-face since last april. japanese foreign ministry's asian and ocean yeah bureau chief gave an update on his recent meeting in moscow with russian deputy foreign minister. >> translator: by cooperating closely between japan, the united states, and south korea, we will press north korea to implement promises faithfully and completely including u.n.
security council resolutions. >> we agreed that it's important for us to continue to enforce our sanctions in light of north korea's continued violation of international obligations and commitments. >> the six-party talks on north korea's nuclear development have been suspended for more than six years. officials in the north have suggested that the talks resume without adding conditions. u.s. president barack obama has reiterated the need to regulate the drone industry. he was speaking after an unmanned quad copter crashed early on monday in the white house compound. the national geospatial intelligence agency revealed in a statement on tuesday that the man controlling the drone when it crash landed is an employee of the agency. the agency said the man was off duty and the man's work has nothing to do with drones. the employee has reportedly told investigators he was playing with the drone and flew it by
accident into the white house grounds. president obama was visiting india when the accident occurred and no damage was reported. he suggested in an interview on cnn that rules on flying drones must be introduced to ensure both safety and privacy. in addition to people buying drones for private use leading online retailer amazon and other firms are pushing ahead with unmanned aircraft to shorten delivery times for their merchandise. the u.s. federal aviation administration has issued some guidelines restricting where and how users can fly drones. but it's still working toward crafting a comprehensive regulatory framework.
we have breaking news out of jordan. jordanian state television says the government is prepared to free an iraqi death row inmate but it says only if the jordanian pilot captured by islamic state last year is released. the prisoner is sajida al rishawi. she was convicted for her involvement in a series of bombings in the jordanian capital of amman in 2005. the station did not mention if japanese hostage kenji goto will be released as part of the potential deal. and we'll get an update on
this news as soon as we get more information. people in western japan fear an envasive species is harming their rivers. they've seen the effects of an animal with a large appetite for some small shellfish and they worry it could throw off the balance of the area's ecosystem. more from nhk world. >> reporter: the okawa river flows through the city of osaka. about three years ago, empty clam shells started to appear on the river banks. it's the work of an invasive alien species known as a nutri yeah. they live in nearby ponds and some live in rivers. the animal grows to 80 centimeters in length. nutrias were brought to japan from south america in the 1930s for their fur. but some were set loose in the wild.
they began to set up colonies mainly in western japan. nutrias mostly eat plants that grow on river banks. they also consume rice plants and vegetables in fields as much as a million dollars worth each year. despite the effort of local government to capture the animals, their numbers keep growing. but in recent years the nutrias have expanded their diet to shellfish. you are viewing the first video images ever captured of a nutria eating clams at night. this nutria was digging up clams in the sand with its paws. it ate nonstop for two hours.
why did they start eating clams? >> translator: it's entirely possible that their diet changed because shellfish were easily attainable. so they shifted to a diet richer in calories. >> reporter: it's reached a stage where nutrias are upsetting the ecosystem even more. the river is home to many fish and shellfish. locals have tried to preserve its fertile ecosystem, but the animal may ruin their efforts. this mussel is called ishigai. it's part of a nutria's diet. but the shellfish is crucial to the reproduction of these fish known as bitterling, they're in danger of extinction. they lay their eggs in ishigai shells. the shell harbors the eggs and
later the fish. >> translator: the empty shells are concentrated in this area. >> reporter: norihiko has been observing the river's ecosystem for many years. he says that nutrias eat more shellfish during the winter when there are fewer plants. more than 90 out of about 100 empty shells found in this area were ishigai shells. >> translator: the young fish live in the shells during the winter. and i'm very worried that they will be devoured. >> reporter: nutria not only destroy the spawning ground for the bitterlings, but they also kill the young fish. >> translator: i think we need to be responsible, and take
measures to restore the ecosystem. because these alien species were introduced by us human beings. >> reporter: the damage keeps growing. the government will study the problem further and draw up a pest control plan. yas hito hirano, nhk world, osaka. people in parts of the u.s. northeast are digging out of a wall of snow. our meteorologist sayaka mori joins us for the latest. sayaka? >> yes, gene much of new jersey and new york expect the worst but however much of the new england coast saw extremely heavy snowfall and hurricane force winds. now, take a look at this picture. we saw quite heavy snowfall in boston on tuesday. snow shut down the city and this is connecticut, cars were completely buried in snow and hundreds of flights were
canceled at the jfk international airport on monday. quite a lot of snow fell in the northeastern u.s. now the heavy snowmaker is situated very close to southeastern canada. labrador newfoundland, you could be picking up heavy snowfall as well as fierce winds. so blizzard warning is still in place at the region. looking quite sunny over the northeastern u.s. but new york city and washington, d.c. on wednesday. however, another batch of snow is coming in to the coastal locations. so snow will be continuing. take a look at this forecast new york sunny weather on wednesday, but snow will return on thursday with a high of only 1 degree. below zero boston snow will be coming back on your friday. and temperatures will stay quite low as we go into the next couple of days. so cold air is still gripping the eastern portions of the u.s. very different story, quite warm air is still covering the western areas of the u.s. and canada. so temperatures are still on the warmer side. zero degrees in winnipeg.
just over 10 degrees higher than normal. 16 degrees for denver and in the mid 20s in both oklahoma city as well as houston on your hump day. now, a winter storm is slamming the british isles and parts of the scandinavian peninsula. the system will likely make its way towards the continent as we go into the next couple of days. anywhere underneath this cold front there's a threat of storms, gusty winds and even hail. and because temperatures will be cooling down we're going to see some rain changing over to snow as the day goes on. london, 10 degrees on wednesday, but down to 5 degrees on thursday, even sleet is on the menu. paris, 7 degrees for the high on thursday, with thundershowers on the menu. and blowing snow will start on friday, going into the weekend. now, across japan, lake-effect snow or rather sea-effect snow is picking up on the sea side of japan. looking at quite gusty and also snowy as we go into the next couple of days. probably up to 30 centimeters
for the hokuriku region up towards the hokkaido region. now snow will continue into the weekend, meanwhile pacific side will stay quite dry, but snow is picking up across the kanto region including the tohoku area into your friday. tokyo snow will be on the menu on friday with a high of only 4 degrees. snow is on tap in kyoto on your saturday. all right. that's it for now. up next is your three-day forecast. we have been talking about the breaking news out of jordan. jordanian state television says
the government is prepared to free an iraqi death row inmate. but it says only if the jordanian pilot captured by islamic state last year is released. the prisoner is sajida al rishawi. she has been sentenced to death for her role in the 2005 bomb attacks in the country's capital amman. jordanian authorities blame the violence on al qaeda in iraq. the predecessor of islamic state militant group. a video posted on the internet on tuesday demanded rishawi's release in the next 24 hours or both goto and the pilot would be killed. moaz kasasbeh was captured by the militants last month after his jet went down during an air strike. the station did not mention if japanese hostage kenji goto will be released, as part of the potential deal. and we will keep you updated -- we'll keep updating you on this news as we get more information.